I have commented in the past about Alberta being a one party state. The current PC government is 43 and counting. (It seems like much longer!) They call themselves the Progressive Conservative party, but it's just a name. They really believe in power and the uses and abuses therein, being a front for the oil companies, with a side of political dinosaur.
Lately, Wildrose Party came along and siphoned off the older, whiter, angrier, and generally more extreme members. They were doing well to get elected, then the public found out about their Lake of Fire, and that's how we ended up with Alison Redford.
There were lots of people that thought the PC party were done like dinner over Redford's excesses and other PC stupidities. WRP was going pretty well in opposition. One could easily argue they are the most effective opposition yet. As a result of their activities, Redford doesn't work here anymore, as the saying goes. A guy named Jim Prentice became the premier in a cakewalk, even without a seat in the Legislature.
What with one thing and another, there were 4 by-elections called recently. The PC faithful were pretty sure they were going to win 2 of them, and reasonably hoped for all 4. Various observers thought that Prentice would win his own seat, the fledgling Alberta Party would make a fight of one of the ridings, and WRP would pick up the other two. The WRP thought they were going to win all 4, easy peasy.
It didn't work out. The PC won all 4 quite handily. Soon after, a couple of WRP defected to the PC party, including some of the harshest critics of it. And now, the leader of WRP, and her deputy leader, and (accounts vary) 5 other elected members are crossing the floor for promises of cabinet posts and uncontested nominations in the next elections. This a few weeks after "no more defections."
To say the membership is beside itself with outrage is understating affairs. I would not be surprised to hear there was a torch-lit mob somewhere in Alberta last night. (The torches to keep warm, the pitchforks for flinging the muck where it belongs.)
Nobody knows how all this is going to settle out yet. The PC caucus is supposed to meet today and decide if they want to accept the defectors. Supposedly it's a done deal. But they rebelled over the bigoted and controversial bill 10, that kowtows to the Catholic church and other social regressives that think it's ok to torment children to death.
What I don't understand is why the PC's would accept them? They have a strong majority, they don't need the votes. They've already stolen many of the WRP policies. The WRP has spent the last several years castigating everything the PC party said or did, and often rightly so. Good for them. And now they join?
The only way this makes sense is that it's a reverse takeover. Prentice is really a WRP in PC clothing, destroying the Progressive part of the Conservative party. He's already had one episode of pandering, and if the PC's absorb the WRP, we'll see lots more.
Right now there are 3 other parties in Alberta, The Liberals, the New Democratic Party, and the Alberta Party. I've said it before, and I've said it again. The Libs are a tainted brand name. They will never be elected government in Alberta, even after Hell freezes over or Harper turns into a nice guy. The NDP mean well, and mostly stay true to their principles, whatever that means. They will never get elected either. The left wing policies are very difficult for Albertan's to swallow, but maybe that will change. The Alberta Party is a reasonably centre of the road party. The platform I read a little while ago is a reasonably sensible, reasonably defendable document. The problem is they are unknown.
So what happens now? There's still more fur to fly, and dust to settle. It looks like Alberta is going to lurch further right, unless the mushy middle gets it's shit together behind the NDP or the Alberta Party. There's got to be a merger there, or something. I confidently expect voter turnout will go down again, being pissed off with the whole situation.
In the meantime there is going to be a lot of frothing and screaming just in time for Christmas. Wonderful. This is the most exciting event in Alberta politics in decades. In fact, nobody has found an example in the entire parliamentary system of the leader of the Official Opposition crossing the floor to the government.
Now is the time for Alberta voters to get it together, and start pushing their elected officials to start doing the right things. The PC's have demonstrated outright incompetence over the last decade or so. They are fat and arrogant in power. The actions Prentice took right after being selected as leader are not demonstrations of competence, they are cleaning up messes that should never have happened.
But they've had a scare in the last election, and the unexpected fury over the egregious Bill 10. I'd like to think they aren't complacent again, yet. But soon. Next time, Albertans, we've got to vote someone else. We must remember that politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often, and for the same reason.